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A Guide to Visa Options for Digital Nomads in Thailand

A Guide to Visa Options for Digital Nomads in Thailand

Thailand is one of the best countries to be a digital nomad thanks to its many co-working spaces, affordable standard of living, fast internet, and wonderful nightlife. There are also many different outdoor and cultural activities you can do here.

But how can you stay in this beautiful country to pursue this kind of lifestyle without any hitches? Well, the first step to doing this is to make sure you get the right visa for your situation so we’re here to give you some ideas on which visa options you can get!

Visa Options for Digital Nomads in Thailand

If you’re a digital nomad looking to work in Thailand, you need to first secure a Thai Work Permit in order for you to legally work in the country.

Next, you need to choose the visa that best suits your needs. Since, the proposed digital nomad visa is still not available as of this writing, you can check out the visa options we’ve listed below:

The visa options we listed above will have different requirements which you need to strictly comply with if you want your visa to be approved. Below are the specific details of these visa options:

Visa on Arrival

Thailand has identified 18 countries to whom it can extend a type of visa called “Visa on Arrival”. Under this arrangement, if you’re a citizen coming from the said countries, you’re still required to apply for a visa but you can do it upon your arrival. 

This type of visa will cost you around 2,000 THB and will allow you to stay for up to 15 days. You should also be able to present a confirmed return or outbound flight.

You’re also technically not allowed to work with this type of documentation but since remote workers can be hard to track or monitor, this is going to be a judgement call for you.

Thai Tourist Visa Exemption

On the other hand, if you’re a citizen from any of these countries (64 in total), then you don’t have to apply for a visa if you’re only planning to stay for not more than 30 days. This is ideal for digital nomads as it won’t cost you anything and is really convenient.

However, just like the earlier Visa on Arrival option, you shouldn’t be working in Thailand with this kind of tourist exemption– but then again, remote workers aren’t easy to track. You also need to show Thai immigration that you have a scheduled outbound flight.

Another convenience offered by this option is that you can use this thrice within six months if you’re planning to fly into the country. 

On the other hand, if you’re visiting Thailand as a digital nomad via sea crossing or overland, then you can use this twice a year.

Single and Multiple Entry Visa

This type of visa is going to cost more but it’ll be more convenient for you as a digital nomad in Thailand. You’ll have to shell out 2,000 THB  but you can stay for up to 6 months (multiple entry) or for up to 3 months (single entry).

You can stay for up to 60 days and you can also extend this type of visa for a maximum of up to 105 days. To reach the 105-day extension, you can apply for the regular extension of 30 days plus the 15-day extension of visa-exempt countries (if applicable).

Similar to the previous types of visa, you need to have an outbound flight or return ticket, and you’re legally not supposed to be working with this kind of authority granted to you. Again, use your discretion here as remote workers aren’t easily tracked.


Getting a THAI SMART Visa will require that you fall under one of the following categories. These include:

  • Executive or managerial positions
  • Start-up entrepreneurs
  • Investors
  • Highly skilled or technical employees
  • Dependents of a SMART Visa Holder

If you’re lucky enough to get a SMART visa, you’re exempted from needing a work permit and you can stay for a period of at least one year up to a maximum of 4 years. 

You can keep your SMART visa active if you can show proof that you earned an annual salary or income of at least 10,000 THB. You also have to renew it for at least 2 months or 60 days before it expires.

Once you get this SMART visa, you’ll be entitled to some of the most impressive perks you can get here in Thailand. These include:

  • Reduced income tax of just 17% if you’re a highly skilled professional
  • Issuance of a Digital Work Permit 
  • Instead of the 90-day reporting, you only need to do a one-year reporting at Thai Immigration
  • Access to fast-track services at the international airports of the country
  • Convenient and worry-free 10-year renewable visa 

Elite Visa

As the name implies, the Thai Elite Visa is an option for those who wish to stay long-term in Thailand and are able to pay 600,000 THB per year. If you’re one of those lucky enough to pay upfront, then congratulations as this is the most convenient option! 

Just like the other visas on this list, an Elite Visa won’t legally authorise you to work in Thailand. Instead, you can expand your business while in the country. 

This option is usually valid for 5 years and you can renew it for another year depending on the type you apply for. Below are the types of Elite Visa options you can check out and consider:

  • Elite Easy Access: Costs 600,000 THB with a validity of stay in Thailand for up to five years with the option to extend
  • Elite Family Excursion: Costs 800,000 THB with a validity of stay in Thailand for up to ten years for couples
  • Elite Family Alternative: Costs 800,000 THB with a validity of stay in Thailand for up to ten years with the option to extend for up to five years
  • Elite Privilege Access: Costs 1,000,000 THB with a validity of stay in Thailand for up to 10 years
  • Elite Superiority Extension: Costs 2,140,000 THB with a validity of stay in Thailand for up to twenty years
  • Elite Ultimate Privilege: Costs 2,140,000 THB and an annual fee of 21,000 THB with a validity of stay of twenty years
  • Elite Family Premium: Applicable to Elite Ultimate Privilege family members

Why is Thailand such a popular choice for digital nomads?

If you’ve decided to stay in Thailand as a digital nomad then you have a couple of things working in your favour. It has some of the best things to offer for remote workers and these can greatly contribute to your success while working online.

  • Beautiful Weather and Nature: This tropical country is known for some of the best parks, forests, and stunning beaches and you’ll experience the beauty of mountaintops, white sand beaches, and fresh countryside air.
  • Affordable Standard of Living: The cost of living in Thailand is also pretty affordable especially if you know where to spend your money. A two-hour train ride costs only 100 THB while a bowl of Pad Thai costs only 40 THB

Overall, you can spend around 30,000 THB to 55,000 THB depending on your preference and the lifestyle you wish to have as a digital nomad in Thailand.

  • Established Tourism Sector and Convenience: The country is pretty stable and it’s considered a great place to stay by a lot of digital nomads. On top of this, you can also expect safety and convenience in Thailand.
  • Amazing Thai Heritage and Culture: Thailand has a rich culture that you’ll definitely enjoy immersing yourself in. Work as a digital nomad here while you visit the historical attractions and temples of the country, 

Thailand’s Top Cities for Digital Nomads

While Thailand is considered a great country for digital nomads for a number of reasons we mentioned in the previous section, you should consider staying in specific cities or locations to maximise your productivity, enjoyment, and cultural immersion.

Below are some of our top recommended cities to stay in as a digital nomad in Thailand: 

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the ideal place for digital nomads, thanks to its many co-working spaces, affordability, fast internet, and wonderful nightlife. There are also many different outdoor and cultural activities you can do here as you work remotely while touring the area.

A lot of digital nomads live in the Old City since it’s a great location for you to do your remote work. It’s a great location right in the middle of Chiang Mai where there are tons of rooftop bars, live music, co-working cafes, and Buddhist Temples.

The Nimman Road is another location in Chiang Mai you may want to stay in if you want to pursue this kind of lifestyle. There are plenty of co-working spaces to choose from along with some bars, restaurants, and cafes for you to do your tasks.

Lastly, if you want your digital nomad lifestyle to be a bit more laid-back, you can choose to stay at the Ban Sathaphon Neighbourhood. It’s further away from the bustling cafes, and restaurants of Chiang Mai but you’ll see tons of cheap and local finds here.


Bangkok is another city in Thailand where you may want to set up your base of operations as a digital nomad. Aside from its highly urban setting, there are plenty of locations here for you to choose from if you want to work, meet, and socialise.

One of the best choices for digital nomads in Bangkok is Silom. It’s a great area located in central Bangkok with tons of co-working spaces to increase your productivity along with lively bars and clubs where you can interact with other digital nomads and locals.

If you want something more trendy, you can also consider Thonglor. Aside from being near the BTS station (perfect if you want to move around the city), Thonglor also has some of the coolest shops, houses, bars, restaurants, and cafes for you to enjoy.

Another option to consider is Downtown Bangkok which is similar to Thonglor. However, it has more co-working spaces and a more vibrant community giving you the opportunity to be more productive and immersed in the local culture.


Krabi (things to do in Krabi) is one of the most amazing tourist destinations in the country and it’s also one of the best islands to stay in if you want to be productive as a digital nomad. Here, you can enjoy an affordable community, with a dash of that mountain and beach life.

Krabi Town is your safest bet if you’re starting out with your remote work here in Krabi. It is just a few minutes away from the beach and most of the food and accommodations here aren’t that expensive thanks to fewer tourists in the area compared to other sites.

If you absolutely must be on the beach, then we suggest going for Klong Muang or Koh Lanta. These places are stunning enough as they are and they are not that crowded compared to the other beaches in the area.


Phuket has a ton of options for you as a digital nomad where you can find different kinds of accommodation that will suit your needs and budget. Plus, there are a ton of entertainment and dining options in Phuket making it perfect if you’re living a life on the go.

Karon and Kata are popular options for digital nomads who want to stay here long-term or those with their families. It has a more relaxed and quieter vibe than Patong (travel guide to Patong beach) but it still has those amazing views and stunning beaches.

On the other hand, if you want something with a more party-like and vibrant feel, you can always stay in Patong. It has a great mix of short-term and long-term accommodations along with some great clubs and bars plus amazing co-working spaces.

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